Little Messages and Reflection

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Blessings

Blessings.  We all possess them.  Sometimes we notice them like a hair on a sweater and in other moments, our eye does not catch a particular blessing even though the sun’s rays are piercing right through it.

Blessings are sometimes physical, like overcoming cancer or becoming someone’s new friend.  They are at times mental and emotional, where we have learned a life lesson or gained a new insight, an experience, and an epiphany.

Our hearts naturally turn warm and serene when the word blessing is uttered.  But the problem most of us have is grasping onto the belief that blessings are newborn babies, yellow voile curtains, or a halo cautiously hanging over a specific event or happening.

Many blessings are actually cold, burdensome, dark, and musty. 

They sometimes give us an aftertaste.  It may be when a life is lost to the one we have loved.  It may be realizing a flaw about someone or ourselves we care about and the pedestal we had put the person on or the pedestal we were sitting on has crumbled- rarely do we give perspective a chance and view such instances as blessings.

This package, this gift called a “blessing” may not be the gift we want or are aspiring to have but it is the water that we need in order for us to grow and prosper in our lives.

What are your thoughts on blessings?

You Only Live Twice

Fear (part I)

We fear so many things.  We forget to fear the most important thing we should fear and that is Allah.  Why is it so important to have our hearts quiver in His remembrance?

Image courtesy of Tim Jarosz

INFOCUS NEWS JULY 2010

written by Mariam Al-Kalby

Fear is an emotion lurking in each of us whenever we feel threatened. 

We fear of losing our jobs, our families, and our homes.

Scared of dying alone, of being paralyzed, of being ostracized.

But how many of us actually sincerely fear Allah and His punishments? 

As humans, we are created for fear because it prevents us from committing wrong actions or thoughts and it creates a barrier from approaching things that can hurt us.

We see evidence of this when we first took our wobbly steps.  We reached out for the teakettle and got our fingers licked with fire and from then we fear the heat.

As we got older, we feared losing the soccer game or getting our parents disappointed when we got a lesser grade then we had hoped for on our chemistry test.

Then there is the time to find someone to marry.  Our worries swallow that ticking clock, creating a ringing that time is escaping and all the marriageable types are taken.

And there is the time when we will have wrinkles of days, weeks, and years etched into our skin. 

Lips drooping at the sides of our mouth, wondering and fearing that we didn’t make enough money to make a big house for the grandkids, and that we didn’t hold the best Ramadan iftar.

These worries are tears for the dunya and not the akhirah.

Life is a sailboat floating to its destination towards the hereafter. 

This feeling of alarm and angst should be steered towards the punishments that come if we anger Allah.

“And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers.” (3:131)

Of course it is normal to feel fear of worldly situations and events but we have drenched all of our worries in this obsession and have forgotten to have fear in our hearts for the trials and the day we will be judged for our intentions and actions.

Searching for Conversation

Image courtesy of Chris Weigand

As  living souls, we are all looking for a connection, a bond, something to get attached to, to seek comfort in.

This is how we are and that is how Allah has made us.  He has formed us this way in order for us to turn to Him and seek His guidance, help, and comfort.

But people lead different paths to find this connection and this sort of conversation to another higher power.

People may not think about it or intentionally seek this type of connection out but we all do in some way.

We have to whether we like it or not, no matter how we try to avoid it…or turn away.

Every single soul needs a connection and something to worship in order for it to survive and thrive in this dunya.

This is true because it is in our fitrah to seek something to fill the void of worship.

Everyone worships something but a lot of times people worship things without  realizing it or the wrong/superficial/fickle things.

Our bodies and our minds have been created to worship but to whom and where to direct this necessity is where people differ.

For some it may celebrities.

Others, money and fame temporarily takes over their being.

Many of our souls have stumbled and sucked into worshipping our work, our children, our spouses, our homes, our cars.

People worship their hobbies and interests.

But we have been created to supplicate and prostrate to Allah only.

“I created man and jinn for no other purpose than to worship Me only.” (Dhariyat 51:56)

He does not need anything from us but we need Him.

All the praying, fasting, and the accumulation of good deeds we try to hoard in our baskets, well, we do it for His sake but it helps us in the end.  It is for us.

Why would a Creator need anything from us?

It is the servants actually serving themselves when they embrace Allah and His commands.

When observing this photograph at  the Western Wall, a prayer, a request, or a personal wish stuffed into crevices, Jews desperately searching and trying to have a continual conversation with God, an eagerness, a heightened fervor to reach the ultimate Power…

As Muslims, we are always conversing with our Creator.

For us, there is a sense of calm and serenity because we know He is listening.  We are confident that He is there for us, even if at times our emaan is low, we know He is not far off.

The souls stuffing notes in the walls- they are seeking.  It is not confirmed as to whether or not it has been reached to God.

For us, it has been reached and there is never a hesitation that He did not hear us, He is As-Sami.

He heard us before we even formed the feelings and words in our hearts.

Our conversation and worship of Allah comes in all sorts of forms but what is amazing is we can essentially talk to Him at any time.

He is always there, ever watchful, and the best of listeners.

We do not have to go out of our way to have this continual communication.

Allah does not want to burden his servants so He creates worship in an effortless way.

“Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you” (2:185).

As a Muslim, Allah makes it accessible to reach Him.

Whether it is through our daily prayers, du’ah, or just simply uttering words of praise in His favor, this is all considered our version of having this dialogue between the servant and His Creator.

Just the beating of our heart is enough to communicate our worldly fears and concerns to Him.

It is as simple as closing our eyes and listening to our heart and unshackling our words from the walls…

Allah is there.   He is listening.

When and where do you converse with your Creator?  Who and what do you worship?  Why?

Allah Owns the World (finale)

Image courtesy of Nora Elgalad

Allah Owns the World (part I)

Allah Owns the World (part III)

Why do we forget that Allah is our Master, our Higher authority, our Creator?  Because as man, we are weak and we forget or get consumed with our daily activities and trials.

Our inabilities are as fragile and powerless, as though we are ants trying to carry a mountain on its shoulders.

But again we fall into the trap that we are self-relying and tougher than the shield of a knight.

As Muslims, we need to remember Allah.

Whatever emotions and events play out in our lives, we need to remember how small we are in front of Allah.

The parts we play in this life are given to us from the Creator and no matter how lost and astray we go from the path, all of us must return to Him on the Last Day.

There we will fully comprehend how insignificant we are in comparison to Allah and His attributes and there we will be judged as to how much we acknowledged this inevitable truth.

Learning from Children’s Books

Children’s books are not only for children: they carry a deeper message for some of us.

Some message that we may have missed growing up.  A moral, a tale, a story that enlightens the child’s mind, ignites an awakening of understanding…

As readers and knowledge seekers, it is a good idea to take a break from the adult books we engage in and reach for a children’s book.  There may have been ideas and thoughts lost along the way as we aged, matured, and grew away from the small things embedded in those pages for the young.

We should pick one up and be reminded of things that we need to remember.  Appreciate the simple concepts that go deep into our identity.  We have steered clear of children’s books because, well, they are for children, unless we have some kids of our own.

But we need to rethink this because we can be reminded, be enlightened with something new, or read lines in a different way we have never thought of, or just purely reminisce of the past before.

What are some of your favorite books growing up?  Why?  Why do you think it is beneficial to read it now as an adult?